“The Lady of Shalott”
January 21, 1919
The young woman stood in the cold, night air. Everything was dark around her, and the rain, more ice than liquid. stung her skin. The thin nightgown offered little protection, but she barely felt the rain or the chilly wind that howled all around her. The fever burning through her body was making her sweat, and the rage coursing through her veins blinded her to almost everything around her.
In the distance, the lights of the city gleamed. They were relatively new, at least in her short lifetime. When she was little, they’d been a promise of the future, a promise of what her life could be. Now that she was older, they were the dying embers of what would never be. She would never walk the streets of downtown Hawkins. He would never take her hand on a crowded sidewalk or take her to see a show. He wasn’t coming for her. He didn’t even care. He’d left her here, alone with her captors, alone in this prison to rot. The lights of Hawkins were now cruel and mocking.
“I am half sick of shadows,” she whispered.
The wind howled again, and she shivered for the first time. Her footing slipped a little and she swayed atop her precipice. Her eyes finally looked down at the ground below. She could do it. She could jump and it’d all be over. She’d be free, free from her captors, free from this house. Her Sir Lancelot was no longer coming for her. What was the point of going on with no rescue in sight?
“LILLIAN!” a voice called out from behind her.
The girl turned to see one of her captors slowly picking his way across the roof to where she stood. She looked back at the ground, more determined than ever to jump. She’d get the last laugh. They’d no longer be able to keep her locked up, keep her contained only to dress her up and trot her out at parties like some dancing monkey. A piece of her life was finally her own. Here, now, was something she could control.
“Lillian, come back from there!”
The girl took a small step forward and the glass ceiling beneath her feet creaked. The Rose Room was far below her. She’d met him in that room. They’d danced, and it was the happiest she’d ever been. That’s where he promised they’d be together forever. That’s also where he’d told her he had to go to war, fight for his county, but he’d be back. And now the war was over, and what? He no longer wanted her. That’s what her captors had said, anyhow.
“No,” her mid suddenly fought. “No, you have to hear it from him.” Lillian staggered back from the edge of the roof, unsure of what to do. Did she stay, or did she jump? If she stayed, how would she escape to go see him?
“Lillian!” that infernal voice shouted again. Her captor was getting closer. The girl didn’t know what to do, but she knew she hated that voice, hated the person it belonged to. Lillian whirled around, the rage burning through her again, threatening to set her aflame from within.
She saw the face of her captor. Heard him shout, saw his hand reach out to grab her. Then there was a loud noise followed only by darkness.